Tasting Note: See Ya Later Ranch Ping 2006, Okanagan Valley VQA

Fruit, fruit, fruit, and also a bit more fruit. That was certainly my first impression of this Bordeaux blend made by See Ya Later Ranch, a Vincor-owned estate located about mid-way between Lake Okanagan and Lake Osoyoos in the Okanagan Valley. Named after the estate’s historical owner’s way of signing off letters, the ranch was originally planted with grapes some 60 years ago, although its current vineyards and estate were established in 1995 by Harry McWatters, a virtual legend of BC’s wine industry.

There was all kinds of fruit in there, from strawberry jam to raspberries, cherries and blackberries, all very attractive. With 57% Merlot, 34% Cabernet Sauvignon and 9% Cabernet Franc, this particular blend certainly had the means to be fruit-forward, although as it opened up, it did show more spice and vanilla (from 18 months in oak, no doubt), and eventually coffee notes, with a fair amount of tannins on the finish.

The alcohol level, however, did feel a bit high, especially on the nose, giving the wine a surprising amount of heat. I’m surprised at seeing a wine from the Okanagan showing well over 14% alcohol per volume, with a fair amount of residual sugar (2g/l). Not that it’s impossible, but it’s certainly not necessary.

I enjoyed the wine, and wouldn’t mind drinking it again. But I think the high alcohol detracts from the full enjoyment of a wine that does have structure and clean fruit, but could benefit from a little more moderation.

Full disclosure: the wine is a sample obtained from Great Estates of the Okanagan through Coletta and Associates.

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